Battlefield 2042 does not include a single-player campaign, but a new Battlefield campaign is probably in the very early stages of development. EA announced today that Respawn co-founder Vince Zampella will oversee the Battlefield series from here, and that new Battlefield “experiences” come from Ripple Effect, the studio that made Battlefield 2042’s Portal mode, as well as a new Seattle-based studio led by Marcus Lehto, the former Bungie creative director who designed Master Chief.
The news comes from GameSpot. EA did not explicitly tell the site that these studios will be creating standalone Battlefield games in the newly renamed “Battlefield Universe”, but I am confident that we can expect one or more standalone games based on my knowledge of EA, the studios and the persons involved.
Ripple Effect was formerly called DICE LA and was renamed just before Battlefield 2042 was launched, signaling that it should no longer be perceived as a branch of DICE, but as its own creative entity. Zampella has previously said the studio is working on a new game, telling GameSpot that “anything is possible” for these upcoming Battlefield projects.
As for the unnamed Seattle studio, Lehto has been accused of “expanding the possibilities for storytelling, storytelling and character development in the Battlefield series,” according to GameSpot. It will include a “lot of experiences” that we will see in the later seasons of Battlefield 2042 and “beyond”, according to Byron Beede, another new Battlefield leader at EA, who spent nearly two decades at Activision, most recently monitoring the entire Call of Duty.
It sounds like Lehto’s studio will start by elaborating on Battlefield 2042’s loose tale of stateless mercenaries, but something bigger – a new game or campaign for the next DICE Battlefield game – is almost certainly in the plans for the Seattle developer. Lehto is too big a name to bring on for e.g. future Battlefield 2042 movie trailers and nothing else. His previous game, Disintegration, failed to pick up speed, but he was a primary Halo creative director from the first game through Halo: Reach, for which he served as creative director.
Whatever follows after Battlefield 2042 in the main series of Battlefield games, it will still come from the Swedish studio DICE, although we also learned today that the longtime DICE GM Oskar Gabrielson is leaving the company. Gabrielson’s credits go all the way back to Battlefield 3.
“There have just been so many fond memories of working with our teams,” Gabrielson said in a tweet. “But I’ve now made one of the hardest decisions of my life, leaving DICE and Electronic Arts.”
My last decade with the team at @EA_DICE has been nothing short of amazing. There have just been so many great memories from working with our teams. But I have now made one of the hardest decisions of my life, leaving DICE and Electronic Arts. pic.twitter.com/NVck19pSkhDecember 2, 2021
The positioning of Zampella as Battlefield Supervisor (he will also continue to run Apex Legends and Jedi: Fallen Order developer Respawn) and Gabrielson’s departure does not appear to have anything to do with the adversity Battlefield 2042 is currently facing. for in the Steam user reviews section, where its rating remains “mostly negative.”
Zampella had already overseen the Ripple Effect, and Gabrielson’s decision to move on was not taken suddenly when his successor was immediately named: It will be Rebecka Coutaz, who previously led the Ubisoft studios in charge of The Division games, Steep and several Assassin’s Creeds, and before that worked on a number of Atari games. Gabrielson stays with DICE until further notice to help with the transition.
“We are excited about the future and remained focused on supporting #Battlefield 2042 for years to come,” tweeted the study.
We also welcome Rebecka Coutaz as our new Studio GM here at DICEWe are excited about the future and stayed focused on supporting #Battlefield 2042 for years to come 💪 pic.twitter.com/Ag8RbVDWLZDecember 2, 2021
Battlefield 2042 got a big patch today with hundreds of tweaks and fixes, as well as some new options to mess with in Battlefield Portal. (For some PC players, the update broke their mouse input – ups. Evan has helpfully explained how to manually fix the issue until DICE fixes the patch issue).
I continue to enjoy Battlefield 2042, which refocuses the series on scale while reducing its complexity in some ways, but it has been controversial to say the least. Many players consider it a total failure, finding nothing redemptive in the new special characters, the larger but less dense cards, and the choice to drop certain Battlefield 1 and Battlefield 5 features. The omission of a single-player campaign has also been mentioned as a disappointment.
My first experience with the Battlefield series came almost two decades ago with Battlefield 1942, which also had no single-player campaign, so I’ve always seen them as unnecessary accessories. Storytelling, however, is clearly an important part of the series for many people, and it seems to be Lehto’s studio assignment now.
Much of the other news disseminated by GameSpot is vague: EA COO Laura Miele says the company is “all in” on Battlefield and wants to “unlock its enormous potential,” which it obviously does. But Gabrielson’s departure and the appointment of new overseers – Zampella, Coutaz, Lehto and Beede – mark the present as a clear turning point for the series, which has not gone nearly as crazy with spin-offs and expanded universe stuff as it could have been in over the last 19 years.
The most notable contribution from a non-DICE studio was Battlefield Hardline, the bizarre policeman Battlefield, who was led by the Dead Space studio Visceral Games before it shut down. Battlefield Heroes and Battlefield Play4Free are a couple of other series offshoots, and one possibility is definitely that EA is releasing another free-to-play Battlefield game at some point. Zampella has experience in that regard, and Beede comes from Call of Duty, whose free-to-play Warzone battle royale game has darkened the popularity of the main series.